|Purred: Tue Feb 7, '12 6:08am PST |
|Working in a shelter environment, I have definitely noticed high surrender rates of declawed cats, with consistent references to inappropriate urination or biting. I do not feel that it makes these cats unadoptable, nor that this should discourage adopting declawed animals, however; it simply means that the new owner needs to be educated on some of the problems associated with declawing, and know how to control and modify these behaviors.
Declawed paws ARE mutilated paws, period; many declawed cats, especially as they age or if they are overweight, need some manner of pain management to deal with the effect that walking abnormally has on their joints. Much of the biting, in my opinion, is less that the animal feels it has no defense and more that they are chronically uncomfortable. I have seen simple weight loss and pain management work wonders on declawed cats with bite histories.
Similarly, while inappropriate urination may be more common in declawed cats, it is often simply a matter of finding a litter that is more comfortable for them to use, and also working on the problem behavior instead of simply throwing one's hands up and assuming it is hopeless.
I had a customer who was contemplating having her geriatric declawed cat euthanized due to inappropriate urination after the addition of carpet to the household. I asked a barrage of questions about the cat's health and changes to the household environment; while a vet had thoroughly examined the cat for kidney and urinary problems, he didn't consider pain management for an animal that, at her age and being declawed, probably had arthritis. Considering that the carpet may have been a more comfortable surface to stand and make waste on, I suggested they try some pain and joint supplements - and recently heard back that this paired with behavior modification had stopped the inappropriate urination.
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